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Wor. Prep boys’ soccer team wins ESIAC championship

By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Oct 26, 2017
Courtesy of: DIANE BROWN The Worcester Prep boys’ soccer team captured the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship with a 1-0 win over Holly Grove last Friday at the Westover Sports Complex.

(Oct. 27, 2017) The Worcester Prep boys’ soccer team captured its third consecutive Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship, edging out the Holly Grove Eagles, 1-0, last Friday at the Westover Sports Complex.

“They played their hearts out,” Prep Coach Terry Underkoffler said. “It was a tremendous defensive effort. The mark of a good team has a shutout mentality. Going into the game we wanted to shut them out.”

About midway into the first half, senior captain Tucker Brown fired a shot, which the Holly Grove goalie had a difficult time handling. Freshman Vincent Petrera was in the prime spot and put the ball in the goal.

Petrera injured his ankle following up his own penalty kick in the second half. With the team’s leading scorer not at 100 percent, Underkoffler said “it put pressure on us to hold the game.”

With about six minutes remaining in the match, junior goalie Cooper Richins made a diving save to keep the ball out of the back of the net.

“It was definitely a game-saving play. It was spectacular,” Underkoffler said. Richins finished the game with eight saves.

The Mallards took home both the regular-season champion trophy and the ESIAC tournament award.

Players who received All-Conference accolades were also announced last Friday. The Player of the Year award went to Petrera. He led the Mallards with 28 goals and had seven assists.

Needless to say, he was a welcomed addition to the team this year.

“At the beginning of the season we knew we had to find 40 goals, because that’s what we lost [graduating players who contributed offensively],” Underkoffler said. “I never thought three-quarters of them would come from one player.”

Petrera, Brown, Richins, senior captain Brenner Maull and juniors Henry Elangwe-Taboh and Cole Berry were presented All-ESIAC honors. Brown was second in scoring this year with eight goals. He also had 12 assists. Junior captain Colin Miller earned honorable mention distinction.

Underkoffler said the Mallards got progressively better throughout the season. They finished with a 12-2-1 record. Underkoffler also earned his 500th career victory. He ended the year with 502 total wins.

“I was a really pleased when you consider where we came from and what we achieved,” he said.

The team graduated 10 players and two others were not able to play this year because of injuries.

“Twelve of the 18 were not back so we knew we would be reshaping and rebuilding with a small nucleus,” Underkoffler said. “They were determined to pull it together and they did…I’m proud of what they did and how hard they worked. They wanted to continue the Worcester Prep [winning] tradition.”

The team will graduate four seniors – Brown, Maull, captain Sam Cantello and Porter Bunting.

“We’ll have some big holes to fill, but we’re bringing a lot of guys back,” Underkoffler said. “We’ll have a strong base to work from and build with the pieces we have.”

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